Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

[Tidbits] Lorgnettes

Well… we all know how it is. But the thing of it is… do we all
know how it was? There was a time you know-- believe it or not–that
women were not treated with the same equality as men. Who could
believe such a thing? It’s an impossibility. It isn’t even remotely
plausible. But yes… there it is… disparity between the sexes. Ye

Let us hearken back to the 19th century. We’re in the mid 1800’s or
so. For the near sighted… spectacles and pince-nezs were the aides
of the day for men in social settings. Ah… but for women… no no
no… this just wasn’t done. Better the lass went blind-as-a-bat…
groping her way along the balustrade as she made her entrance from
the top of the stairs ready at any moment to hurtle down head over
petticoat… hopefully landing at the stair’s base with little
damage. It was–you see–quite unsightly for a lady to use pince-nezs
as accoutrements to the ball. It was for this reason folks… that
Lorgnettes were introduced. To quote Harper’s Bazaar from a 1985
issue: “… the lorgnette is more than a convenient adjunct to an
out-of-door toilette.”

And so… with the use of precious metals and quite often set with
gemstones… the Lorgnette came into the socially acceptable
forefront… allowing women to see wherever they were… much the
ultimate detriment to the male chauvinist of the day… for they
could now read the fine print… and we all know how important that
is… do we not?

They were designed as framed lenses… hinged to fold into a handle
which was then brought into focus as needed. When not in use… they
often hung suspended about the neck in quite an attractive fashion as
a pendant … occasionally doubling as a fan when the air was a tad

I have three examples of Lorgnettes of the day. The left and right
ones were made by Faberge, circa 1905 worth in today’s market over
$15,000 each… and a center pair by an artist unknown to me worth
around $18, 000. They are made of precious metals and precious stones
and are elegant examples of Art Nouveau and Art Deco and Belle Epoque
Lorgnettes for the women of status of the day.

So… ya wanna see? Go. You know where by now.

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at where you
will scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that
says Current Tidbits… click it… and you will see represented on
our pages a coral brooch of Cupid with a cornucopia and a dove within
his reach.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark